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Birth-6 months guide to feeding your baby

In this article:

  1. Age: Birth to 4 months

  2. Age: 4 to 6 months

Use this guide to find out what and how much to feed your child in the first 6 months. The amounts are general recommendations only, so don’t worry if your little one eats a bit more or less than suggested. It’s always a good idea to discuss your plan for starting solids with your child’s doctor before getting started.

Also, you don’t have to introduce foods to your child in any special order. If you want to give your baby a taste of tofu at age 6 months, go ahead, even though it’s not listed on our chart until age 8 months. And while cereal is a traditional first food in the United States, it’s fine to start with mashed fruits or vegetables instead.

In most cases, you don’t even have to wait to introduce highly allergenic foods like eggs, fish, and peanuts. Read more about food allergies and ask your doctor to be sure.

From solid food to sippy cups, spoons, and kids’ ability to feed themselves, here are the major eating milestones and when to expect them.

Age: Birth to 4 months

Feeding behavior

  1. Rooting reflex helps your baby turn toward a nipple to find nourishment.

What to feed

  1. Breast milk or formula ONLY

  2. Your baby’s digestive tract is still developing, so solid food is off-limits for now.

Age: 4 to 6 months

Signs of readiness for solid food

Whether your baby is breastfed or bottle-fed, there’s no rush to start solids. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about 6 months. If you’d like to introduce solids earlier than that, keep in mind that your baby probably won’t show all these signs of readiness – they’re just clues to watch for:

  1. Can hold head up

  2. Sits well in highchair

  3. Makes chewing motions

  4. Shows significant weight gain (doubled birth weight) and weighs at least 13 pounds

  5. Shows interest in food

  6. Can close mouth around a spoon

What to feed

  1. Breast milk or formula, PLUS

  2. Pureed vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash)

  3. Pureed fruit (apples, bananas, peaches)

  4. Pureed meat (chicken, pork, beef)

  5. Semi-liquid, iron-fortified cereal

How much per day

  1. Begin with about 1 teaspoon pureed food or cereal. Mix cereal with 4 to 5 teaspoons breast milk or formula. (It will be very runny.)

  2. Increase to 1 tablespoon of pureed food, or 1 tablespoon of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, twice a day. If you’re giving cereal, gradually thicken the consistency by using less liquid.

Feeding tips

  1. If your baby won’t eat what you offer the first time, try again in a few days.

  2. Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait two to three days, if possible, before offering another new food. (Three days if your baby or family has a history of allergies.) It’s also a good idea to write down the foods your baby samples. That way, if she has an adverse reaction, a food log will make it easier to pinpoint the cause.

  3. The order you introduce new foods doesn’t usually matter, but many parents like to offer meat after cereal, fruits, and vegetables. Your child’s doctor can advise you.

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